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Old 26-07-2015, 10:00   #1
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Retired Coasty

Hello, I am Randy and I am a retired U.S. Coast Guardsman (23 years). I was fortunate enough to experience different aspects of the CG by starting my career on board the largest ice breaker in the U.S., the USCGC Glacier WAGB-4. I served on the Glacier from 1973 to 1975 and made one Arctic trip to Point Barrel AK and two Antarctic trips (deck force and Quartermaster).
My next assignment was at USCG Base St. Louis, MO. where I was a boat engineer at a very busy search and rescue unit on the Mississippi River (mostly body recovery).
My next CG assignment was at the Navy Aviation Training Center in Lakehurst NJ. where I attended the Aviation Survival Technician school which included ALSE, Ordinance / Weapons, and Para-rigger training. As I understand, this was the only military school that put you out FREE-FALL on your first jump. Yes, I jumped from a perfectly good aircraft!!
Next I was off to my first CG aviation unit, Traverse City, MI. and the rest is history. Kodiak AK (three tours), Elizabeth City, NC, Clearwater, FL, two recruiting tours, and I retired at Aviation Training Center, Mobile, AL in 1996. I crewed on HU-16, HC-130H, and HU-25A aircraft.
Soon after retirement, I started Aviation Survival Technologies and Marine Survival Technologies. My first contract was inspecting all aviation life support equipment carried by the Marine Safety Offices in the Eighth CG District. They used a special vest that required inspections every six months. Then I decided to start selling products on-line and I designed a water survival kit that could be worn by General Aviation Pilots during flight.
During my time in the CG, I was always intrigued by survival, and in particular, the physiology of it. How do people react and how do they perform under traumatic conditions. I often interviewed survivors, and from this, I formed my training around these comments. I was also fortunate enough to attend the Alaska Marine Safety Education Assoc. in Sitka AK where they taught "how to teach" survival. During this school, I was actually dropped offshore and had to swim to shore and survive for three days with what I had on me. There was three foot of snow on the beach when we reached it!
Although I am a purveyor of survival equipment, I will honor the conditions I agreed to with this forum. I will not direct anyone to my sites and I will not try to sell anything on here. My information is only to help anyone who has questions or can use my information to help them someday. I'm a big proponent of wearing life vests while on the water (after seeing some of what I saw on the Mississippi, you would be too.), and I am also very knowledgeable about hypothermia and am trying to get the word out that hypothermia is very prominent in the Gulf Coast areas or any waters cooler than 70 degrees.

Here's a link to a video that a shipmate made about how we got stranded in Antarctica in 1975


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Old 26-07-2015, 17:08   #2
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Re: Retired Coasty

Howdy Randy! Welcome Aboard CF!

I know this is not your first post on the forum, but it is a good one.

You have a lot of experience that will add to the mix of the sailors here. I am glad you came aboard. And, thanks for your service to our country and all mariners!

Actually, I envy your experience on the icebreakers. When I was a young teen, I had my heart set on doing that kind of sea duty, but life took me in a different direction.

Your point about Hypothermia is a good one. I have seen good sailors die from it when they went overboard in SF Bay. That issue is one I tend to emphasize with others too, so I agree with your educating the public on it.

I will look forward to your further participation on the forum and encourage you to do so. Just be aware that we don't all have your level of experience and some members may have differences of opinion or unrecognized lack of knowledge.

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Old 26-07-2015, 17:44   #3
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Re: Retired Coasty

Hi AST, welcome to CF, I'm ex CG too, I spent 10 seasons ice breaking and instructed in survival as well.

Welcome aboard.

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Old 26-07-2015, 18:00   #4
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Re: Retired Coasty

While we lived in Cleveland, the CG visited/taught marine safety anywhere they were invited. The CGsman noted that 9 of 10 drowning were young males with their fly open and with high alcohol content. Sorry to say I no longer have the bumper sticker they handed out. "DON'T PEE WITHOUT YOUR PFD" We always wear our floatation and harness. Clip on is mandatory in rough weather, night time or peeing.

Good advice on hypothermia. Not much survival time in the Great Lakes most of the year. I didn't know about the gulf. We will put Gumby suits on the list.
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Old 29-07-2015, 09:42   #5
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Re: Retired Coasty

Nicholson58, Yep, I flew (usually eight hours) patrols out of TC on the HU-16 Albatross. Saw some pretty rough seas and gained a lot of respect for the lakes. Not a place you would want to sink in. Yes, gumby suits are a must. Even if you get into a life raft, the gumby suits are needed to keep you from freezing to death.
I recruited in Grand Rapids too. Grand Haven MI is CG town and they show much love for the CG there.
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Old 29-07-2015, 09:51   #6
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Re: Retired Coasty

ASTBoone, I just want to thank you for your service. Coast Guard men and women are our true heroes.

S/V B'Shert

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